This week I’d like to talk about artist portfolio websites, specifically the navigation menu. Okay, so maybe that doesn’t seem like a big deal. And maybe you won’t agree with what I’m about to say. But I happen to think the nav menu is important, and I have a good reason why I think the way I do.
In my opinion, the very first thing on the top of an artist’s navigation menu should be the link to the artwork. That’s the whole enchilada, the main motivation a website visitor has for coming to an artist’s website. Doesn’t it just make sense to put that first? And it’s so easy to do, because every web hosting service I’ve used makes it simple to rearrange the navigation menu exactly the way you want it.
I’m going to use FASO (Fine Art Studio Online) as an example of how to arrange a nav menu since it seems like about 75% of the artists I know are using this excellent web hosting service designed specifically for artists, but most other services work in a similar way. When you first enter into the home admin page for a FASO website, you’ll see that there’s a link (actually two!) to the left of the screen where you can edit the navigation menu.
Click on either link, and you’ll be taken to this screen shown below. As you can see, the default settings have the bio (About the Artist) and contact form (Contact the Artist) first. These are followed by the link to the artist’s galleries and works.
If you want to change the order of the items in your navigation menu, simply use the drop-down menus (the arrows in the blue buttons next to each item) to change them around and to add more links unique to your needs. For me, the best place for “Contact the Artist” is the last position. After looking at your art, you hope that web visitors will want to contact you, so make it easy for them to find that link by making it appear last. Place your least visited pages in the middle of the pack. Just remember to hit the Submit button when you’re done.
By the way, most web hosting services also allow you to override the default labels of each link by typing in the labels you want. With FASO, you’ll use the spaces to the right of the list. So, for example, you could change the label “Works” to “Paintings,” “Sculptures,” “Portfolio,” or any other descriptive phrase you want.
You may need to refresh the page, but soon your new customized navigation bar will appear on the admin screen as well as your website.
If you want your website visitors to have a great experience, make it easy to navigate around your site. Consider putting your artwork link first and your contact form last. As always, though, I’m open to your suggestions. What do you think is the best sequence for a nav bar? Let’s connect!